[THE INVESTOR] Korean biotech company AbClon said on Feb. 6 that the company hopes to sell global license rights to its preclinical antibody candidates to global drugmakers this year to turn to profit for the first time.
“Our business strategy lies in increasing profitability and growth by signing out license deals when drug candidates are in an early stage of development, so that we can focus on diversifying and innovating our drug pipeline,” AbClon General Manager Park Chang-won said during an investor briefing in Seoul.
The company aims to reach a break-even point this year with revenue from licensing agreements, following consecutive annual losses since it was founded in 2010.
“The short-term goals are to find global partners that will license the rights to develop our drug candidates AC101 and AM201,” Park said.
AbClon’s monoclonal antibody AC101 targets human epidermal growth factor, a protein that could affect the growth of some cancer cells. AC101 was found more effective than a combination of Roche’s mainstay breast cancer med Herceptin and its new med Perjeta, when administered with Herceptin to animals, according to AbClon.
Perjeta, in combination with Herceptin, is currently used as standard treatment for HER2-positive breast cancer.
AbClon signed a US$16.5 million deal with Shanghai Hanlius Biotech to grant the rights to AC101 in Greater China, but as breast cancer is more common in the US and European countries the drug’s value will be higher in those regions.
Another key project of AbClon is AM201 -- a bispecific antibody therapy for rheumatoid arthritis, which targets tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interleukin-6.
Currently, the rheumatoid arthritis market is dominated by TNF-alpha inhibitors including the world’s top-selling drug Humira developed by AbbVie, Amgen’s Enbrel and Johnson & Johnson’s Remicade while some IL-6 inhibitors hold a small market share.
When patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis are unresponsive to a TNF inhibitor drug, physicians typically switch patients to a different TNF drug or IL-6 drug.
“If the potential drug demonstrates its superiority to Humira, we will carry out a global tech transfer in the latter half of 2018,” the official said.
By Park Han-na (firstname.lastname@example.org)